Auto Retail Sales: Dealers Rush To Offload BS-IV Vehicles But Lockdown Slows Sales
The national lockdown has slowed the registration of vehicles compliant with BS-IV emissions standards even as auto dealers rushed to offload such vehicles in March—ahead of the April 1 deadline to stop selling and registering them.
States like Maharashtra announced the lockdown days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced one for the entire country on March 24.
Nearly 3.35 lakh vehicles were registered across India during March 25-31, according to data from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and BloombergQuint’s calculations. That’s around 15 percent of the near-22.98 lakh vehicles registered in the entire month.
Vehicle registrations—a measure of sales at dealerships—rose 36.8 percent sequentially and 30.3 percent year-on-year to 22.98 lakh units in March, according to data from 1,225 regional transport offices in 32 states and union territories, collated by BloombergQuint from the website of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. It, however, rose 1.2 percent over the previous year.
This is in sharp contrast factory gate sales in March which have fallen by 40 to 90 percent across categories of vehicles.
Data indicates jump in sales at the dealer-end as companies pushed Bharat Stage-IV inventory ahead of the April 1 rollout of BS-VI emission norms. In some relief to automobile dealers, the Supreme Court has allowed sale of 10 percent of BS-IV inventory beyond the March 31 deadline once the lockdown is lifted.
Two-wheeler makers witnessed the maximum monthly registrations in 27 months as dealers cleared their BS-IV inventory ahead of the introduction of new emission norms. The sales was primary led by anticipation of higher prices for the new BS-VI vehicles.
Passenger car registrations fell 3.8 percent on a monthly basis and 5 percent on an annual basis in March. With companies cutting production in March, dealers concentrated on clearing their BS-IV stocks.
Commercial vehicles registrations jumped over 40 percent month-on-month and year-on-year, rising above the 1 lakh-mark for the first time since February 2019.
Commercial vehicle makers are working on reduced capacity since January 2019. Quarterly registrations contracted by 4.6 percent for Ashok Leyland Ltd. but overall, the segment witnessed growth.
Tractor registrations rose 4.9 percent on a monthly basis and 9.2 percent on a yearly basis.
Overall tractor registrations rose 11.6 percent during the quarter with the Mahindra group registering z 14.6 percent jump in registrations in the fourth quarter.